Winter Weather for Nomads: Power & Lighting

Power: Monitor Conditions Throughout the Storm

Just as with permanent dwellings, you may experience loss of power to your rig. Generally, this isn’t catastrophic since your lights run on 12 volt power off your house battery and don’t take a lot of power, especially if you have LED and not incandescent bulbs.

Still, even those—along with regular parasitic draws from your refrigerator’s igniter, your onboard furnace’s ignition and thermostat, etc.—will pull down a steady stream of energy from your batteries. So unless you have a robust solar power system (which will be handicapped not just by cloud cover, but also any snow cover on your panels), I recommend rationing your battery usage until you know when power will come back on.


Thanks to the popularity of outdoor sports and also to consumer applications for technology developed for outer space and the military, we live in an age when there are a vast number of options for temporary lighting that doesn’t use your house battery. I recommend:

  • taking stock of what you have available
  • getting some lamp-style flashlights if you don’t have any; the kind that can hang are particularly versatile
  • arranging them so they’re easy to find if needed, and
  • stocking up on fresh batteries for them.

If you run out of even those batteries, it doesn’t hurt to have one or two good ol’ Coleman white gas or even kerosene lanterns in a pinch. But those I would not recommend running indoors for any amount of time, because the danger of fire or asphyxiation is very real. Plus, the amount of ventilation you need with those for breathing safety makes their use almost negligible in balance of warmth vs. lighting.